At least 16 Americans suffered hearing loss in Cuba, US government says

The United States says at least 16 American diplomats working for the U.S. government in Cuba suffered severe hearing loss as a result of activity attributed to a covert sonic device. 

This is the first time the U.S. has disclosed a number of Americans were affected. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said it’s possible there are more. But she said all of the 16 are U.S. citizens.

They’ve been treated by doctors either in Cuba or the U.S.

Nauert said the incidents are no longer occurring. But she said the U.S. hasn’t located a device that caused the symptoms and hasn’t identified the perpetrator.

Some of the 16 are still in Cuba and others have returned to the U.S. Nauert said Cuba is cooperating with the U.S. investigation.

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Massive asteroid passing Earth to be visible with binoculars

As if Monday’s eclipse wasn’t enough, the universe is being kind enough to entertain us with another celestial event that could have actually been a lot more disastrous.

Asteroid Florence, measuring 2.7 miles, will fly so close to our planet on Sept. 1 at 8:06 a.m., we’ll be able to see it through binoculars.

The Palm Beach Post reports Florence will still be 4.4 million miles away when it zips by, but still close enough to possibly see.

Those looking to get a glimpse of the asteroid should look about 19 degrees above the southern horizon 

Florence should be “fairly bright” and trackable for about 5 to 10 minutes as it makes its closest approach to the planet since 1890.

By the way, when we say “zips,” we mean it. Florence will be traveling at a smooth 30,266 miles per hour.

 

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Fired employee fatally shoots chef at Charleston restaurant, owner says

A man who fatally shot an employee Thursday at a restaurant in South Carolina has been shot and wounded by police, the mayor of Charleston told reporters. 

The owner of the restaurant where the gunman was holding hostages Thursday said he was told the man is a former dishwasher who was angry with and shot a male chef.

John Aquino told WCSC-TV that he thinks the gunman was fired and came back to Virginia’s in downtown Charleston on Thursday to get revenge.

Tom and Patsy Plant told The Post and Courier of Charleston they were eating at Virginia’s restaurant and saw a man come out of the kitchen with a gun in his hand who said, “There’s a new boss in town.”

The man looked like “an ordinary grandpa, but he had a crazy look,” the couple said. They were able to escape out a back door.

Charleston Police spokesman Charles Francis said officers were able to get the injured man out of the restaurant after the lunchtime shooting. Francis did not give any details of the man’s condition.

Francis said the shooter is holding a small number of hostages, but he has declined to give an exact number.

Witnesses said the man let diners, waitresses and some kitchen staff out of the restaurant.

Authorities said a hostage negotiation team tried to talk to the gunman. The gunman was eventually shot by police. 

Charleston police warned people nearby to stay inside buildings or leave during the hostage situation. 

The site is a few blocks away from Emanuel AME church, where nine black members of a church were killed by a white man during a June 2015 Bible study. Dylann Roof was sentenced to death in the case.

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Hostages being held in Charleston shooting, officials say

A “disgruntled employee” was holding hostages Thursday after shooting one person at a restaurant in downtown Charleston, South Carolina, officials said.

“This is not act of terrorism. This is not a hate crime. It’s a disgruntled employee who has come on the scene of his employment,” Mayor John Tecklenburg told reporters Thursday.

Charleston police described the scene as an “active shooter situation” Thursday afternoon, a spokesman said.

Police are asking people to avoid the area near Virginia’s on King, a Southern-style restaurant in the heart of downtown Charleston.

Several hostages are holed up inside the restaurant, spokesman Charles Francis of the Charleston police said during a press conference.

An owner of a nearby boutique said the police activity is focused around the restaurant.

“Right now the streets are full of SWAT and police and people heavily armed. They are blocking off the whole block,” said Sarah Cobb, owner of MOSA boutique.

Cobb described evacuations of nearby businesses and officers with guns pointed toward the restaurant.

Sandy Troeder, who works at a hair salon across the street from Virginia’s, told CNN affiliate WCIV that she saw police and a SWAT team break down the restaurant’s door and enter with dogs and machine guns. Police carried a body out, but she couldn’t see who it was or if there was blood.

Police later came to the salon and told people to evacuate. Andrew Locke, another salon employee, said the situation was “nerve-wracking,” especially in trying to take care of customers.

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Charleston police report ‘active shooter’ situation

Dozens of police officers are rushing to downtown Charleston, South Carolina, after police reported a possible “active shooter situation” near a stretch of restaurants and shops popular with tourists.

The shooting was reported just after noon on King Street, police spokesman Charles Francis said in a statement. He did not say whether they were any injuries or give any description of a suspect.

Tom and Patsy Plant told The Post and Courier of Charleston they were eating at Virginia’s restaurant and saw a man come out of the kitchen with a gun in his hand who said, “There’s a new boss in town.”

The man looked like “an ordinary grandpa, but he had a crazy look,” the couple said. They were able to escape out a back door.

Charleston police sent SWAT teams and a bomb disposal unit to the area and warned people nearby to stay inside buildings or leave.

The site is a few blocks away from Emanuel AME church, where nine black members of a church were killed by a white man during a June 2015 Bible study. Dylann Roof was sentenced to death in the case.

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